Ogden • It figured that BYU’s 15-game winning streak over Weber State in basketball would have to end some day, but not in the way it ended Saturday night at the Dee Events Center.
Using their superior athleticism and driving ability to score at will against the defenseless Cougars, the Wildcats took a 113-103 win to beat BYU for the first time since 2003.
“They were just better than us in all aspects tonight,” said BYU forward Yoeli Childs, who led all scorers with 31 points. “Man to man, they were better than us — every single guy.”
Few among the announced crowd of 9,731 would beg to differ as the Cougars (5-4) suffered their third-straight loss and played as poorly defensively as they have in several years. And that’s saying something.
“We could have guarded them better,” BYU coach Dave Rose deadpanned. “They exposed us at every position. … They exposed us on the perimeter with their athleticism and their ability to drive and score off the dribble. It was a lesson in how to get to the rim.”
Weber State’s Jerrick Harding was the chief culprit, scoring a team-high 30 points on an array of 3-pointers (4 of 6), free throws (4 of 4) and circus shots at the rim.
“We knew it would be an issue,” Rose said. “We tried almost every guy we had on him. Luckily, he got in foul trouble in the first half or he would have scored 50.”
The Wildcats made 11 3-pointers and shot 64.7 percent in the second half.
The Cougars led 41-35 with four minutes remaining in the first half, but then the wheels came off. Weber State took a 47-46 halftime lead on a rebound basket by Cody John (22 points) at the buzzer and carried that momentum into the second half.
“They kicked our butts in the first half — they just missed more shots. I think they pretty much owned us tonight, in both halves,” Childs said.
Jahshire Hardnett scored a career-high 24 points, but fellow guard TJ Haws was held to eight and was 1 of 9 from the field.
“We had a hard time getting by them,” Rose said. “And then when [Haws] did get past them, he was getting some tough breaks at the rim as far as fouls being called. He didn’t get to the free-throw line like he normally does. So, tough night.”
Weber State led by as many as 15 points in the second half before the Cougars staged a rally in the final minutes. Childs hit a 3-pointer with 50 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 103-97, but Harding made two free throws and John made a 3-point play to allow the pro-WSU crowd to breathe easy again.
The Wildcats took 38 free throws to BYU’s 24, a function of the Cougars having to foul at the end to stop the clock, and also Weber State’s ability to get dribble penetration. Still, BYU outscored the hosts 62-42 in the paint and shot 59.4 percent from the field.
“We have some issues we have to deal with and it starts with everybody,” Rose said. “It starts with the coaching staff. We have to find a way we can play to be successful. … We have played three games outside our building [all losses], and we have given up close to 100 points a game.
“The pace we are playing at, we don’t score enough to give up that many points,” he continued. “We will have to digest this and find a better way to give these guys the best chance to be successful.”
Having swept its instate opponents last year, BYU is now 1-1 against Utah foes. The Cougars will host Utah State on Wednesday before facing Utah next Saturday at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.
“Every guy, especially myself, needs to find a way to do more,” Childs said. “We are not broken, but we obviously have a problem right now. You can’t lose three in a row. You just can’t.”